Climate Change & Energy
"Deal with galamsey kingpins and not just the field operatives"- National House of Chiefs
Source: Ghenvironment.com - January 26, 2024
The National House of Chiefs has called on the government to "deal with the kingpins" in illegal mining activities instead of "just the field operatives".
The President of the house, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II said the fight against galamsey should be devoid of partisan political colorization and urged the political parties to take a stand against it.
Ogyeahoho who doubles as the Paramount Chief of the Sefwi Anhwiaso Traditional Area also called for the involvement of all stakeholders, including religious organizations, civil society organizations, traditional authorities, and political parties in the fight.
He noted that illegal mining activities have not only resulted in environmental degradation and negative effects on people's health but also reduced food and cocoa production leading to shut down of some cocoa-buying companies.
Although Ogyeahoho said the Chiefs are doing their best to minimize the galamsey activities and their impact on their subjects, a collaboration with the government will strengthen them to make it more effective.
Speaking at the house's dialogue meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory bodies on illegal mining in Kumasi, he called for a change in the existing land management regulations since it almost stepped side them in the management of lands and mineral resources.
Ogyeahoho said the Chiefs are the custodians of lands and should be actively included in the management of lands and mineral resources.
“The strategy to fight illegal mining should be comprehensive and must include identifying and mapping out areas most susceptible to illegal mining activities, soliciting and fostering host community support against illegal mining, strengthening regulatory institutions, and tightening regulatory control activities, creating more acceptable alternative livelihood opportunities for the youth and defining a definitive timeline for implementation”, he said.
He noted that, as Chiefs, there can be no better service, than protecting and preserving the environment for posterity.
“We have a responsibility to ourselves and posterity to posterity to protect the environment and cannot and should not fail them. Fortunately, we have almost all the agencies with the national mandate to preserve the environment right before us, so together the fight must be won”, Ogyeahoho added.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu called on Nananom not only to advise the regulatory agencies on how to fight the illegal mining activities but also to help them in the fight against the menace.
The Deputy Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr Sulemana Nelson, also expressed concern about the rampant nature of galamsey activities in Ghana's forest reserves.
He said galamsey activities are being done with impunity in the forest reserves, especially in the high forest zones.
Mr Sulemana said, the uniforms of the forest Officers were enough to scare away the encroaches of the forest reserves, but noted that it is different recently as it no longer scares them.
According to him, the encroachers are usually armed which he said exposes their staff to danger, adding that three of their staff were shot dead last year.
Mr Sulemana, therefore, called on the Chiefs, who are the custodians of the lands, to collaborate with them to fight the menace to protect the forest from continued encroachment.
President of the house, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II